Standard Chartered has worked with SWIFT to create a comprehensive data strategy, turning cross-border payments data into actionable insights. Both organisations see an opportunity to use data in new ways to drive better, faster, more seamless experiences.
In the modern world, they say time is money. This is especially true in the world of banking and finance. Enter SWIFT gpi, a new standard in global payments that offers greater transparency of fees, faster payments, and end-to-end tracking. With it also comes a wealth of rich payment data that promises to improve the customer experience and support strategic decision making.
However, data serves its purpose only if it is acted upon. Financial institutions are increasingly turning to big data to understand behaviour, and SWIFT has been developing business intelligence tools to help financial institutions like Standard Chartered improve systems and streamline payment chains.
From data to insights – Standard Chartered’s blueprint for SWIFT gpi
In 2018, SWIFT launched a new tool, gpi Observer Analytics. It is a resource that offers an aggregated overview of customers’ gpi traffic each month, including payment routing, benchmarks against the gpi community and activity shares, enabling banks to make informed decisions based on data. Without the need for software or hardware installation, gpi Observer Analytics runs on a web browser. Users are able to search using pre-defined data attributes and filters, and the data is automatically maintained in dashboards.
Notably, Standard Chartered was one of the first banks to adopt SWIFT gpi to solve existing challenges involved with making cross-border payments, such as speed and traceability of payments, and transparency of fees, which has helped to increase the financial institution’s clearing efficiency. So when it came to the use of business intelligence to gain a deeper understanding of gpi traffic, Standard Chartered was eager to explore ways to use this data to its advantage.
Rajesh Vedantham, Director, Clearing Products, Correspondent Banking, at Standard Chartered, says: “One of the earliest questions we had was ways in which we could evaluate the performance of SWIFT gpi across these attributes, and the other was how we could put the new data sets generated from gpi to better use. So we decided to marry both. We used data to measure how well SWIFT gpi has addressed the inefficiencies in cross-border payments. Our journey of co-creation with SWIFT was a natural progression from this experience.”
Rajesh Vedantham, Director, Clearing Products, Correspondent Banking, Standard Chartered
The predefined and customisable dashboards of gpi Observer Analytics has helped Standard Chartered capture important analytics that effectively measure its gpi traffic and provide benchmarks against the community. Aside from reporting, Standard Chartered is now able to offer faster end-to-end payments with greater efficiency to its customers. The existence of cooperative data insights have also helped in identifying gaps in the business and securing new business opportunities for the financial institution.
Through the recently-launched SWIFT Business Intelligence APIs, Standard Chartered has also been looking into further customisation of these dashboards and incorporating other SWIFT data for a broader view on cross-border payments.
The role of co-creation in data
The journey of co-creation that Standard Chartered and SWIFT have embarked on is just one example of a growing trend. As the banking industry continues to evolve, it is faced with increased willingness and expectation from customers to become involved in the co-creation and co-design processes of the very experiences they consume.
Damien Dugauquier, Head of Data and Analytics Solutions for Asia Pacific at SWIFT, explains: “The best way for a service provider to develop a solution is to understand what the customer needs. Co-creation addresses this by customising the solution to the customer’s needs. However, while co-creation and customisation go hand in hand, they are quite different concepts.”
Damien Dugauquier, Head of Data and Analytics Solutions for Asia Pacific, SWIFT
“SWIFT gpi Observer Analytics was born of co-creation. At SWIFT, we believe that it takes two to tango. When it comes to co-creation, we look at how the end experience is relevant for both the customer and the community, to deliver on the wider benefits. This experience does not necessarily have to be customised, so long as we are approaching it collaboratively.”
Financial institutions should also recognise that while technology is important, a strong data strategy should be guided by the organisational and business objectives. Good data governance and a defined data architecture, are also key in realising one’s data strategy.
Vedantham compares data to gold – a commodity now in high demand. Expanding on his metaphor, he explained that banks capture so much data every day, especially with the addition of SWIFT gpi. The real question is how a financial institution is able to derive value from that data. Data automation is one way to help an organisation understand and consume data. But above that, financial institutions need to be data fluent and adopt a data-centric culture to appreciate the value that data brings to the organisation.
With the adoption of the open and global standards of ISO20022 for payments messaging, the industry will continue to enjoy richer, structured and more meaningful data, for improved compliance and efficiency.
“We have come a long way from our initial conversations with SWIFT on how to use gpi data better. Our collaboration has allowed us to gain valuable insights into cross-border payments and contributed to the foundations of a strong data strategy that ultimately supports our organisational goals and those of our clients,” Vedantham adds.